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Navigational Safety Policy

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has a primary responsibility to enable the safety of navigation on the tidal Thames.  To this end, it is Board policy that the PLA shall:

  • Maintain an effective navigational Safety Management System based on a continuing, formal assessment and mitigation of risk in consultation with river users;
  • Review regularly the effectiveness of, and if necessary seek amendments to, its legal powers, Byelaws and Directions in respect of navigational safety;
  • Monitor and manage vessel traffic within the VTS Area through the provision of an Information Service, a Traffic Organisation and a Navigational Assistance Service;
  • Provide appropriate pilotage services in accordance with the Pilotage Act 1987;
  • Make and publish hydrographic surveys;
  • Undertake maintenance dredging as appropriate;
  • Remove sunken vessels and other obstructions that may impede safe navigation;
  • Provide all necessary aids to navigation within port limits to the west of Sea Reach No.1 Buoy and maintain a close liaison with Trinity House in respect of the other aids that Trinity House maintains within PLA port limits to the east of Sea Reach No1 Buoy;
  • Promulgate effectively navigational, tidal and other relevant information to all port and river users;
  • Provide effective management and co-ordination in respect of the PLA’s response to emergency incidents within its area of jurisdiction;
  • Consult widely with port and river users and other relevant stakeholders in respect of navigational safety issues and proposed changes to navigational arrangements;
  • Verify the fitness for purpose of licensed commercial vessels by inspection, and where appropriate, define and enforce minimum crew competencies;
  • Ensure, through risk assessment that the licensing of river works takes due regard of the safety of navigation;
  • Investigate all navigational incidents and near misses to a proportionate level to ensure that any future lessons are identified to inform the risk assessment processes.


31st May 2011